#loveme challenge – Day Five

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Day Five – “A Note to Your Past Self”.

Hmmm.  This is vague.  Interesting, but vague.  Who do I write to?  My five-year-old self that was obsessed with Barbies and the colour orange?  My nine-year-old self who was absolutely convinced she’d become an artist when she grew up?  My twelve-year-old self, in the cusp of puberty and extremely embarrassed by it all?  So many options.

Dear my sixteen-year-old self.
Hi.  I know it’s hard to believe I’m writing to you from the future.  I’m 25 now.  Seems crazy right?  25, the time you assumed that you’d have it all together.  Well, unfortunately you don’t.  No partner, no job, renting (don’t be mad, I know you swore you’d never get stuck the rent trap but you also know how badly you needed to move out of the parentals place.  Trust me, this isn’t so bad), still not sure what you want to do with your life.  But you know what?  A lot of 25-year-olds are in the same situation.  It’s scary, but it’s not so bad.  I know to you, 25 seems so far away, but it isn’t.  It’ll come faster than you think.
I know right now you’re going through some stuff.  You feel alone.  You aren’t.  Sixteen is a tough year for most people.  Don’t let it get you down.  Enjoy yourself.  I know the teachers at school are all about you “knuckling down” and suggesting you “think about your future”.  I know the tests are getting harder, the lessons are getting more serious.  Don’t worry about it.  Just do your best, but don’t let it wear you down.  There’s more important things than the result of some quiz.  Go out more with your friends.  Spend more time with your dogs.  Buy stupid things.  Quit that awful job.  Don’t let yourself get stressed out and depressed.  Everything will work out.
That boy you think you’re in love with…let him go.  He’s not right for you and not interested in you.  You pretending to enjoy sport isn’t going to get you anywhere.  Don’t let him hurt you, you’re worth more than that.  It’s okay to be alone, even if the whole world seems to believe otherwise.
It’s okay to be emo.  It’s okay to enjoy it.  If it makes you happy, just do it.  It won’t last forever.  At 25, you can’t do stuff like that any more.  Enjoy these phases while you can, it’ll make for more interesting stories later on.
Don’t listen to your mum or anyone else who says you’re fat.  You aren’t.  You may not be the skinniest person in your year level but you are not overweight.  Don’t throw in the towel and think it’s okay to eat bad food all the time.  It will catch up with you!
The most important piece of advise I’ve got – more important than anything else I’ve mentioned – is to be yourself.  I know at 16, it’s all about peer pressure and fitting in, but almost all the people you associate with now, you won’t remain friends with in a few years.  Hard to believe, I know, but it’s true.  People grow up, go separate ways, don’t have time to organise catch ups.  Don’t worry what they think.  Don’t pretend you enjoy things that you don’t, don’t spend time with people you dislike.  It’s okay to go against the crowd sometimes, but it’s also perfectly fine to go with it (which I know you struggle with).  Sometimes, the crowd is right.  You don’t have to constantly be at war with “the man”.  Pick your fights.
Anyway, hope school isn’t too tough for you today!  Chin up soldier!

-JD

Time to Change – Day One

So, it’s become particularly apparent of late that my weight is an issue.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been on the heavy side.  I realized I was quite big (that’s the nicest way of putting it) a couple of years ago.  Instead of stopping myself then and there, I let the problem get worse.  I don’t know how much I’ve gained between then and now, it could be 10kgs or 15, I’m not 100% sure.  All I know is, I look back on photos of when I was a teenager only 5 or 6 years ago, and I was a different person (and not because of my emo attire back then).  The sad thing is, at the time, I thought I was fat then too.  Okay, I was still a size 14, but I WASN’T FAT.  Not like now.

It’s easy for fat people to blame so ciety, to say “love me the way I am”, to see it as normal.  I’m not suggesting that people should be allowed to trash talk or bully overweight people – I’m sure the views on themselves are worse than what anyone else could say anyway – but I know personally, I used all three of those lines as excuses.  “We’re just in a fat world now, it’s not weird”.  I’d convince myself of this.  I knew even as I was using them though that it was nothing more than a defense mechanism.  If I hate myself at this size, why do I have any right to expect anyone else to love me for it?

In Australia, almost 2 out of 3 adults are overweight.

Let that sink in a little.  That is a huge, huge number.  This is also why it’s so easy for individuals like me to sweep the issue under the rug.  To shrug it off, say that it’s just the way it is.

It doesn’t have to be.

Some people have genuine health problems that lead them to become overweight, I appreciate that.  I also think that a lot of people use this as an excuse.  It’s easier to explain away your weight if you can find a condition to blame it on.  I’m not suggesting this is true in all cases (it’s obviously not), but I find it hard to believe that almost 2/3rds of the population is fat due to a hormone imbalance or medication.

I guess I’m straying from my point.  Right now, I don’t care about the rest of the world.  If they are happy with themselves, then great.  I’m no longer going to let them drag me down into this “normality”.  I’m fat because I made myself fat.  If people with an alcohol problem need to acknowledge their problem before they move forward, then it stands to reason people with an eating problem do too.

I made myself fat.

I’ve put on about 30kgs in 5 years.  It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.  It’s easy to overlook it when it happens gradually.  It’s even easier when you spend a majority of your days around overweight people.  I worked full-time and about an hour away, in a shopping centre where fast food is everywhere.  Even if I avoided the greasy temptations there, I’d stop off at Maccas on the way home for dinner.  It’d leave at 7.30am and get home at 6.30pm.  I’d be tired before work, I’d be even more tired after work.  Too tired to exercise.  On the weekends I’d channel surf, play computer games and go out to lunch with friends.  The weekend was my time.  I’m not going to ruin it with boring, uncomfortable exercise.  This is how the weight crept on – through all the excuses I fed myself along with all the fast food.

For those of you who haven’t experienced being overweight, you probably can’t really imagine it.  I mean, you probably think you can, and it’s probably partially correct.  Having never been naturally skinny, I don’t know what you’d think it’s like.  Let me break it down for you.

  • You wake up each morning, look at yourself in the mirror and hate yourself.  Imagine that for a second.  Your day hasn’t even started and it’s already off on the wrong foot because of your reflection.  Some people chose to avoid mirrors for this reason.  I did for a long while.  Then I moved into a rental with mirrored wardrobes and suddenly I don’t have that luxury any more.  Even if you avoid the mirrors, you know that you have to face the world and everyone else is going to see you.  Yep, such a great start to each day.
  • It’s lunchtime.  You forgot to pack lunch (it happens).  Suddenly, you realize you have to buy lunch.  From a food court.  One of the most unhealthy food selections around.  You can spend half your lunchbreak trying to find something healthy (and break the bank for the trouble), or you can get take away.  Inevitably, you get take away, and while you eat it, you try not to look like you’re enjoying it too much (even though take away always tastes like heaven).  You hate yourself.  The fat person is eating greasy take away.  You feel like a massive stereotype.  You are a massive stereotype.  You assume everyone is judging you, even your friends.
  • The seasons are changing.  Oh god, you need to go clothes shopping.  Is today going to be the day you can no longer find things at Target that fit you?  Even if you can find things that fit, will you find anything that doesn’t pull awkwardly and make you look even bigger?  Clothes shopping is one of the most stressful, horrible things a fat person can do.  It’s in public, it’s uncomfortable trying so many different things on and it’s depressing when you find cute things and know they’d never make it in your size (and if they do, it won’t sit right because it was made for thin people).  You wind up buying clothes you don’t even really like, purely because they fit and don’t make you feel too much worse about yourself than normal.
  • You friends are all getting engaged and pregnant and you are single, and always have been.  You’ve been on a couple of dates but nothing came from them.  You’ve liked people but they weren’t interested (big surprise, you’re huge).  You know even if you managed to find someone, you’d be thinking the whole time “why are they with me?” and assuming all their family and friends are not only judging you, but your partner as well for being with someone so big.  You’re plagued with such self-loathing and doubt that you ruin anything before it even starts.
  • You apply for jobs, but you first have to work out whether you’d be suitable for it.  Is their uniform going to fit you?  Are you going to be someone they want representing them?  You mentally rule out most clothing places, most real estate jobs…basically anything where skinny, beautiful people are front and centre.  Even when you land an interview, you know deep down you probably won’t get it because someone more attractive will get it.  Yes, this is discrimination, but how can anyone actually prove it?

These reasons are why fad diets are so popular, and always have been.  Who doesn’t want a quick fix to address oversized stomachs, flabby arms and chubby thighs?   Especially when your friend’s friend (supposedly) had great success with it.  I’ve always tried to avoid fad diets, though I have tried a couple.  No success whatsoever, needless to say.

I have a terrible diet and I hate exercise.  If we’re being honest about everything, it’s best to start there.  I don’t think this is a particularly unusual thing in this “normal fat” world.  It’s too easy to find amazing tasty (extremely fatty, greasy) food and too hard to find motivation to get off the couch.  I’m also a fussy eater.  I always have been.  Before you start, it’s not something you can just turn off.  I’m sure you have something you hate the taste of – I just dislike the taste of a wider variety of things.  I wish I didn’t as it makes having a healthy diet harder.  I don’t know who’s to blame for it.  It’s easy to point the fingers at my family, but my sister isn’t fussy like me.  I guess it doesn’t matter, it just is what it is and what it is is an additional complication to weight loss.

Today, I’m making a change.

I’m done with being fat.  I’m done with wishing I could wear cute clothes.  I’m done with convincing myself that pizza for dinner won’t hurt.  I’m done sitting on the couch all day wishing things were different.

I’m 91 kilograms today.  I ate donuts for breakfast like this is normal.  IT ISN’T.

September is the last month I’m going to be 91kgs.

It’s going to be difficult, and progress will no doubt be slower than I’d like.  That’s the issue, isn’t it?  You feel motivated, work out a couple of times, the scales don’t change and you go back to your old ways.  That’s how it’s always been for me anyway.

This time it’s different.  This time, I’m laying everything out in the open.  I’m going to document everything on here.  I’m sure it’s been done a thousand times before by other people going through the same struggle.  I don’t care.  I’m not doing it for other people and their light-reading enjoyment.  I’m doing it for me.  The best motivator for me is to know other people are watching.  That if I fail, I’m letting them down too, not just me.  It’s easy to let myself down – the easiest thing in the world – but I hate letting other people down.  I hate trying to explain why.

Today I went for a 50 minute walk around my suburb.  I haven’t gone on a walk like that in at least a year.  I can’t even remember the last time I went on one that long.  And you know what?  I surprised myself.  I assumed – wrongly – that I’d be sweating bullets and feeling awful by the 20 minute mark.  I didn’t start to feel that way until I was almost home, and even then, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  The sun was out, the sky was blue and it was really nice.  More proof that I really do have it in me to change.  I’m also going to plan out my meals ahead of time, so I don’t fall into my old lazy ways of snacking on bad food or cooking quick meals.

This won’t be easy, but it will be done.  It has to be.  It’s time to change.cb7aaf5ad5b963b95c7485c46c4f27d011123890_1429776213994099_1480929173_n